In the email seen by the Observer, which was sent on Friday on the instruction of national officials working for NHS England, the medical director for East Anglia, says: “I have just been asked to inform you all by the national specialist commissioning team of the current national lack of child and adolescent mental health beds.”
It is no surprise that this is happening in East Anglia. Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) implemented the deepest cuts in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) anywhere in the country as measured by NHS benchmarking: three times the national average. Now, the consequence of the decimation of community mental health services for our most vulnerable children and young people is that inpatient services are overwhelmed.
Norman Lamb tries to present himself as a mental health champion by talking about fifty new inpatient beds and appearing in photo opportunities with youth services. But he has overseen huge cuts to mental health. At Saxmundham, Lamb wouldn’t even admit the Health & Social Care Act, creating NHS England and the Kafkaesque CCGs has been a disaster.
Sarah Brennan gets it right:
Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the mental health charity YoungMinds, said: “It is unacceptable that children and young people are being placed on adult wards which is completely inappropriate for them, and which the Mental Health Act rightly says should not happen. Young people in crisis should also not be transferred hundreds of miles to get a bed, which is going to be the result of this situation and in fact has been for far too long.
“This is not only a question of lack of available beds. It is a question about why so many children and young people are needing in-patient care in the first place. YoungMinds has warned for years that cuts to early intervention services would place great pressure on the in-patient system. We need more investment in services that support and help children and young people when they first start to struggle.”
Peter Hindley tells the truth about the impact of Norman Lamb’s cuts too:
Dr Peter Hindley, chair of the child and adolescent psychiatry faculty for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the crisis in children’s mental health provision was caused by a combination of factors: “This isn’t just about beds, it’s about community resources.
“One of the impacts of cuts is that the specialist teams who would support young people and manage young people at risk have been very seriously affected.”
He said placing young people on adult wards benefited no one. “It’s not where you want a vulnerable 17-year-old and it also creates significant difficulties for the adult wards as well. They don’t have the sort of facilities to manage these children safely.”
Where is the local MP and minister responsible now that the crisis has erupted? Yet again, he runs away and leaves facing the consequences of his actions to an NHS England spokesman.
We’re well aware of the modus operandi of duplicitous and cowardly Norman Lamb.
Norman ‘mental health champion’ Lamb should resign in shame.
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